Y receives $150K grant

Published 3:44 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Southside Virginia Family YMCA will receive a $150,000 matching grant from Centra Southside Community Hospital over the course of the next three years and is in the process of working with FACES Food Pantry to offer two acres of the Y’s 36 acres in order to allow the pantry to build a larger building to operate out of.

Brad Watson

The announcements were made by YMCA Board Vice Chairman Brad Watson at an event held at his home on Tuesday, which was attended by nearly 100 people.

“This is a major step in our development and rebirth, and it fills me with pride that Centra Southside believes in us and our mission so much as to put forth this much money,” Watson said.

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According to Watson, Centra’s donation will contribute to a plan by the Y to raise $575,000 over the next three years to pay down debt and keep its mortgage at a manageable level.

“Five-hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars sounds like a lot of money to me, but I don’t think it’s an impossible task,” Watson said.

He said $80,000 will come from the YMCA Board of Directors and $50,000 will come from area supporters on top of the Centra grant.

He noted the Y board is looking for 20 people to give $5,000 over the next three years, for a total of $100,000, and 50 people to give $3,000 over the next three years, for a total of $150,000.

He said if the Y is able raise the money, it would be left with approximately $45,000.

Watson said as of March 2016, the pool had not been working for two-and-a-half-years, combined with a $2.1 million mortgage with a monthly payment of $19,000, $80,000 worth of bills owed, no aquatics director, no chief executive officer and no money in the bank.

Watson said the Y’s offer to the FACES Food Pantry was to let it build on the land owned by the Y at no cost.

“We have offered to let them build there — they may want to purchase it instead,” Watson said. “One way or another we’re going to make sure they get it, but the terms have not been finalized yet.”

The pool has been repaired, all bills have been paid, the mortgage payment is down to $8,000 a month, there is a CEO, an aquatics director is coming and the Y has $70,000 in the bank, Watson said.

“It has been a heck of a turnaround in a short period of time,” Watson said. “But, I’ve had a lot of people from town that have given me some good advice just from this community, and a lot of people that have been extremely supportive.”

Watson noted that help came from Susan Landergan, the CEO of the YMCA of Central Virginia, and Jay Parker, the chief operating officer of the YMCA of Central Virginia, who helped manage the Southside Family Virginia YMCA free of charge.

During the Tuesday event, Watson also announced the Y’s new branch director, Steven Blewett.

“We are very excited to have experienced leadership working with us on a daily basis,” Watson said, “someone on-site who can handle day-to-day operations and coordinate the 55-60 mostly part-time people the (Y) employs each year.”